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Indian traders: Southeast American Indian Nations

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  • Samuel Riley, Jr. (c.1747 - 1818)
    Samuel Riley was a trader in the Cherokee Nation. He was listed as a white trader living in the Cherokee Nation in 1797. Samuel Riley lived with his two wives near South West Point on the Tenness...
  • Bryant Ward (c.1720 - 1815)
    A Patriot of the American Revolution for GEORGIA. DAR Ancestor # A120464 Uncertain Origins The origins of Bryant Ward are not documented. He may have been the son of Edmond Ward, born in County An...
  • Abel Warren, Jr. (1814 - 1882)
    Abel Warren, early trader, was born on September 19, 1814, in Northborough, Massachusetts. Educated in that community's schools, he set out for adventure in the American Southwest at age twenty-one. Wa...
  • James Adair, Indian Trader & Author (c.1710 - c.1776)
    Not the same person as James Adair of Bladen County . Not the same person as James Adair of Connecticut. Not the same person as Dr. James Robert Adair who’s attached to this headstone (which is inaccur...
  • Capt. Ephraim Merrill Daggett (1810 - 1883)
    Ephraim M. Daggett, merchant, Texas legislator, and early promoter of Fort Worth, was born in Upper Canada on June 3, 1810. The family moved to Indiana in 1820 and in 1830 settled in Chicago, where in ...

Traders in Some Southeast Indian Nations 1750 ~ 1754

Traders to the Catawbas

  • Robert Steel
  • Robert Tool
  • Mathew Toole

Licensed Traders to the Cherokee from Carolina

  • James Adair
  • The Augusta Company
  • James Baldridg
  • Charles Banks
  • William Bates
  • James and Thomas Beamer
  • Samuel Benn
  • Robert Bunning
  • John Butler
  • Cornelius Daugherty
  • Anthony Dean
  • David Dowey
  • John Downing
  • John Elliott
  • Robert Emory
  • Robert Goudy
  • Ludowick Grant

  • Haines
  • John Hatton
  • John Hook
  • Bernard Hughs
  • Bob and John Kelly
  • Anthony L'Antignac
  • John McCord
  • David McDaniel
  • David McDonald
  • William McDowel
  • James Mackie
  • William McTeer
  • James Maxwell
  • James May
  • Daniel Murphy
  • Joseph Oliver
  • Bryan Sallamon
  • Abraham Smith
  • Richard Smith
  • John Williams

Carolina Traders to the Chickasaw

  • John Buckles
  • John Campbell
  • Cambell and Maccartan
  • Jeromy Courtonne
  • Courtonne and Brown
  • John Highrider
  • Robert Vaughan

Carolina Traders to the Choctaw

  • John Buckles
  • John Nellson

Licensed Traders to the Creeks from Carolina

  • Ephraim Alexander
  • The Augusta Company
  • Isaac Barksdale

  • Brown
  • Patrick Brown
  • Rae Brown and Company
  • Nicholas Chinery
  • Daniel Clark
  • John Coller

  • Cossens
  • Samuel Elsinore
  • John Eycott

  • Fitz
  • Stephen Forrest
  • George Galphin
  • James Hewitt
  • George Johnston
  • John Kennard
  • John Ladson

  • McCay
  • Lachland McGillvery
  • George McKay
  • Lachlan Mackintosh
  • Alexander McQueen
  • Timothy Millin

  • Nowley
  • Moses Nunes
  • John Pettycrew
  • John Rae
  • Peter Randle
  • Walter Rode
  • Acton Rowley
  • William Sludders
  • John Spencer
  • Joseph Wright

Traders to the Savannahs

  • Enoch Anderson
  • Richard Anderson
  • William Anderson
  • John Anderson

  • McKinnie

Interpreters of Various Indian Groups (1750-1754)

  • Mary Bosomworth, a Creek woman married to a colonist.

  • Brannan
  • Edward Broadway
  • Robert Bunning
  • James Gaddes
  • James Germany
  • Mr.
  • Joseph O'Connor
  • Aaron Stevens
  • Samuel Thomas
  • William Thompson

  • Wiggan


  1. William McDowell, "Colonial Records of South Carolina: Documents Relating to Indian Affairs 1750-1754." Compiled by Linda Eaton.

The following article by Larry Petrisky provides an excellent overview of the complex relationships of family politics, trade and social networking between and among many of the trader families that intermarried into the Cherokee Tribe in the 18th century.

Hembree – Vann Connection, Part One (revised)

John Amory (d.1746) was an Indian trader associated with William Elder(s), Thomas Nightingale, and John Watts. John Amory was the uncle of Robert Emory (d.1790) and the father of William Emory (d.1770), both of whom married daughters of Ludovic Grant and resided with him in the Valley town of Tamah’li in North Carolina. Ludovic Grant was associated with old trader Cornelius Daugherty who was in nearby Hiwassee.

Ludovic Grant’s Cherokee wife was Elizabeth Gouedy (pronounced and spelled “Coody”), the daughter or ex-wife of another old trader, Robert Gouedy of Ninety Six. Thomas Nightingale and John Watts had land transactions with Robert Gouedy. David Hembree (father of Rev. James Hembree) had land adjoining some land of Robert Gouedy in 1771. John Amory fathered a son by a Cherokee woman; the son was named John Emory (b.1744) and is better known as Old John Hembree.

John Vann entered the Indian trade as a packhorseman for James Maxwell by 1746 and later became associated with Bernard Hughes, Robert Gouedy, and John Downing.

John Vann’s Cherokee wife was probably Wah-li (War-le in the Lower dialect) and she was the sister of chief Sour Mush and the half sister of Jenny Daugherty, the daughter of Cornelius Daugherty. She may have been the daughter or ex-wife of Bernard Hughes.

John Vann had a brother Edward Vann (perhaps Edward Clement Vann) and perhaps Joseph Vann, both of whom lived near or next to John Vann. (This Joseph may just be a son of Edward.)

The children of John Vann are not known for sure (nor is the date of his birth or death) but include John Vann, Betty Vann, and Wah-li. His daughter Wah-li married a Joseph Vann (b.c.1737 d.bef.1800) who seems to be the son of Edward Vann. Wah-li and Joseph were the parents of James Vann (b.c.1766 d.1809), the notorious Chief James Vann of Georgia. This Joseph Vann moved to GA in 1763 with a wife and three children and resided on the Savannah River below Cagg Creek, at the mouth of the Little River. [Candler, GA Col Recs, IX, p.256]. (This therefore is the likely birthplace of James Vann.) Edward Vann had land on the SC side of the Savannah River.

Daughter Wah-li then married Clement Vann (b.c.1746 d.c.1830) who had no children of his own but is referred to as the step-father of Chief James Vann. Clement Vann had a younger brother Avery Vann Sr.


John Vann entered the Indian trade as a packhorseman for James Maxwell by 1746. [SC Commons Journal of 11 June 1746]. In May 1747 he was sent to the Choctaw Nation. He returned to SC by 1749 and resided at the trading post at Ninety Six. He was associated there with Bernard Hughes and Robert Gouedy.

In 1751 the Lower Cherokee (SC) began attacking the English traders. Bernard Hughes Sr. was reportedly killed in April 1751. (Turns out he escaped and left his post at Stecoe on the Tuskasegee River in NC (by order of Chief Raven) and retired to Ninety Six.) [SC Commons Journal of 7 May 1752] Daniel Murphy (a son-in-law of Hughes?) was killed farther north. The Indians attacked Ninety Six and John Vann fled with his wife and children to Augusta, GA in May 1751. [SC Commons Journal of 13 May 1751] When he returned to Ninety Six he operated a trading post with Bernard Hughes. He was accused of allowing runaway slaves safe conduct past his post and he was summoned to Charleston to answer these charges in Dec. 1751.

In 1752 the Creek Indians attacked the Lower Cherokee and plundered three packhorsemen at the Keowee village: James Welch, John Downing, and William Bailus. [SC Doc Ind Affairs (2) 1750-54, p.247-9]

By 1753 many families came down from the Cherokee to live at Ninety Six. Among these were William Emory (who fathered two sons there: Drury Hembree b.1755 and Abraham Hembree b.1757), John Watts (who fathered John Watts Jr. there in 1753), the Cherokee widow and children of William Elder(s), the widow and children of Daniel Murphy, and James Welch, John Downing, and Robert Emory (who left his Cherokee daughter Susannah with the family of William Emory and went off to trade with the Creeks along with Richard Smith of Keowee).

By 1756 Ludovic Grant came down from the Cherokee and soon thereafter died.

Suspicions and complaints about John Vann (similar to those lodged against Bernard Hughes) caused him to move to Georgia by 1757. In a deposition in SC he gave his full name as “John Charles Vian”. [SC Ind Docs (3) p.442-3]

In Georgia, in 1757, John Vann was commissioned as a captain in the militia and as a justice of the peace. [Candler, GA Col Recs VII, 691]

On 7 Feb 1758 Ezekiel Harlan (uncle of Ezekiel Buffington who married 2 daughters of William Emory) petitioned for 100 acres on the Broad River in GA at Pistol Creek, next to the lands of John Vann. [Candler, Col Recs GA Vol VII, 723]. On 4 Apr 1758 Edward Vann was granted 200 acres on the SC side of the Savannah River, next to John Vann’s plantation (which was soon to be seized in a lawsuit). On 23 Oct 1758 Robert Gouedy sued John Vann for business debts totaling L 80.

In 1758 with the completion of Fort Loudon, many of the families at Ninety Six returned to the Cherokee Nation. Susannah Emory (the daughter of Robert Emory) at the age of 14 bore a son to John Stuart, one of the occasional captains at Fort Loudon (he was a Charleston politician, not a soldier). This son would be known as Bushyhead.

Also in 1758 and 1759 the Cherokee were recruited by Virginia to help fight French-armed Indians in the north. Richard Pearis of Virginia and Richard Smith of Keowee were the white leaders of the Cherokee but Warhatchie (Wauhatchy) of Keowee was the war chief. (Warhatchie was a half brother of Old John Hembree’s mother). Young Will Emory (b.1744 d.1788), son of William Emory, was among the young warriors who went north.

The tragic Cherokee war of 1759-1761 wiped out the Lower Cherokee but family bonds remained strong. The half breed clans at Ninety Six would have the option later of living as whites or living among the tribe (sometimes doing both). In 1760 John Downing and Bernard Hughes fled the Cherokee and stayed at John Vann’s house on the Broad River in GA. These type of events formed family ties that endured.

The extermination of the Cherokee in SC ended Charleston’s control of the Indian trade. Georgia, Virginia and North Carolina took on greater roles. Virginians such as John Rogers and William Ephraim “Rim” Fawlin (Falling) moved in among the tribe. The Cherokee repopulated the SC backcountry but tribal power moved to the Overhills (in TN). The Buffingtons and Harlans married among the Cherokee, and Charleston businessman William Dewes established a trading post on the path between Ninety Six and Keowee. Ellis Harlan, Ezekiel Buffington, Richard Fields and Robert Dewes (Due) worked for William Dewes, whose SC post was called Dewes Corner, then Due West (a corruption of the pronunciation of his name). Richard Pearis also established a trading post on the trading route. Joshua Pettit, a young import from New Jersey, worked for Pearis briefly.

The Revolution found many of these families together as Tories who traveled with the Cherokee but early crushing defeats brought the Cherokee (and the half-breeds) to a position of neutrality. An unofficial warrior class formed among the Cherokee (and later included other tribes) called the Chickamauga. Will Emory, John Watts, William Elder, James Vann were among these warriors. White Tories often took Cherokee wives and lived among the tribe for safety. Some of these put on war paint and ran with the Chickamauga. Richard Roe, John Emory, Charles Hughes, James Murphy, Richard Fields, Joseph Vann and James Welch were among the mixed blood or white Tories.

The Joshua Pettit Connection:

Joshua Pettit (who has connections to every branch of the Hembrees) witnessed the illegal land cession of 150,000 acres from the Cherokee to Richard Pearis (via his Cherokee son George Pearis) on 21 Dec 1773. Joshua fathered a son by Cherokee Nannie Downing. His time with the Cherokee was brief (his white wife and children moved down to SC) but his consort grew to be an important woman in the tribe. The children of Nannie Downing were:

           1.  Thomas Pettit Sr.  m. Catherine Hughes 
           2.  James Crittenden  m. Nancy Hughes
           3.  Jennie Crittenden  m.  John (Jack) Wright
           4.  Margaret McSwain  m. Avery Vann
           5.  Elizabeth McSwain  m. David Welch

A half-breed Joshua Pettit lived close to a half-breed James Emory in Sevier County, TN, 1840 – 1850. Other Cherokee Pettits can be found east and west.

The Hughes sisters were kin to Charles Hughes, the uncle of Chief James Vann. Charles Hughes was a grandson of Bernard Hughes Sr. James Vann shot Charles Hughes c. 1792 (or c. 1806?).

John (Jack) Wright was a trader who lived among the tribe in TN in 1797. His brother, Josiah (Joe) Wright owned land on Martin’s Creek (Pendleton District) which was part of Cherokee countryman Alexander Drumgoole’s grant and close to lands of John Ross, father of the Cherokee chief. In the 1830’s the Hembrees lived on this land. (My Hembree/Emory ancestor died on this land in 1863.)

An Al-sie Wright, widow of J. Wright (probably Josiah) was associated with the Hembrees, Rainwaters and Vanns in the Baptist Church.

Avery Vann was a cousin of Chief James Vann. Charles Hughes Vann, a tribal member in 1835, was probably a son of Avery Vann (there were two).

David Welch (c.1782 – c.1835) was a grandson of Old John Hembree through his first wife (more on this below).

The Welch Connection:

Old John Hembree’s first wife was a Cherokee mixed blood of Ninety Six, SC, who died very young (c.1768). His second wife was the white widow of John Cantle (d.1768), Mary Elizabeth Cantle. [SC Hist Mag xi, 36]. She died 9 Nov 1769. [Ibid. x, 166] The only child of his first marriage was Elizabeth Jane Hembree (b.1765 SC d.c. 1798 NC). She married John Welch who was b.1753 at Ninety Six (son of packhorseman James Welch). John Welch was a mixed-blood Tory under Richard Pearis (along with Old John Hembree) and eventually settled on the Valley River in NC near Tamah’li (Tomatley), the birthplace of the

Cherokee children of William Emory (d.1770) and Robert Emory (d.1790). Some of the Welch children lived as white but others remained connected to the tribe.

There is a slim chance that Elizabeth Jane Hembree did not die c.1798 but remarried a William Welch; her children, though, remained with the father and his Cherokee wife. A daughter of his second marriage was Al-sie Welch, wife of Johnson Murphy, Cherokee grandson of the Widow Murphy who resided at Ninety Six. (Mixed blood Murphys also resided close to the Joshua Pettit and James Emory mentioned above in Sevier County, TN.)

See below for the Nicholas Welch who married Margaret Hembree.

The John Downing Connection:

On any Cherokee list, east or west, you are likely to find Welch, Murphy, Downing, and Bushyhead names or descendants close together. John Downing partnered with James Welch when they worked for James Beamer in the Lower towns. Bushyhead, of course, descends from John Stuart and Susannah Emory (b.1744), daughter of Robert Emory. The Downings were closely related to the Vanns by intermarriage.

The John Fawling Connection:

Chief James Vann killed his brother-in-law John Fawling in a duel in 1807. A Cherokee court ruled it was murder. (James Vann was also part of the conspiracy to kill Chief Doublehead in 1807.) John Fawling was a grandson of William Emory (d.1770), the half –brother of Old John Hembree.

The Emory Vann Connection:

Emory Vann was b.c. 1815 in Abbeville District, SC and was the son of Edward Vann (1763-1854) and Elizabeth Walls (d.1863). Emory Vann was a cousin of Avery Vann, therefore a distant cousin of Chief James Vann. He was named for an Emory, but which one?

The Buffington Connection:

Ezekiel Buffington married two daughters of William Emory and the close relationship between the Buffingtons and the Vanns is well-established. Chief James Vann was killed at Buffington’s Tavern in north Georgia.

The William Hembree Connection:

William Hembree (b. 1774 SC d.c. 1811 SC) was the oldest son of Old John Hembree. William’s wife was Selah Hughes, daughter of Charles Hughes, who d.c. 1806 (the same Charles Hughes who was shot by Chief James Vann?) “Selah” (SEE – lah) is a common Cherokee name often rendered “Cela” in English and the phonetic reverse is also a common Cherokee name: “Al – SEE”. William had 6 children including William Hembree Jr. (b.1796) who married an

Alsie (or Alerz) and Uriah Hembree (b.1805) who married Elizabeth Dolly Murray. (Uriah was raised by his uncle Edward Hembree (1780-1863) and is often shown as his son.)

William’s sons William and Uriah traded lands between the various Hembree lines. Uriah signed the mortgage note of 24 Jan 1831 that allowed Simeon Hembree, son of Edward Hembree, to buy land on Martin’s Creek that was once owned by Cherokee countryman Alexander Drumgoole, then Thomas Carradine, then Josiah Wright (see above).

William Hembree sold land on 26 Mile Creek to Edward Hembree and to David Hembree and later Edward Hembree bought some of David Hembree’s land.

The Granville County, NC Connection:

The Virginia Hembrees, Heatons, Rainwaters, Fowlers, Moselys, Kings, Days, and Meadows all resided in Granville County, NC, during the Baptist migration. So did the Welch family of Nicholas Welch (b.1761 NC d.1822 TN) who married Margaret Hembree (d.bef.1810), daughter of David Hembree. These Welches are no relation to the mixed-blood family of John Welch, though they both had brothers Thomas and William Welch. In the 1754 militia rosters for Granville County, all these names are represented.

The John Hembree Connection:

On 12 March 1831 John Hembree (father of Mahala Hembree) sold 75 acres on 26 Mile Creek to Uriah Hembree for $300. This John (b.c. 1783 d.aft 1853) was a son of Rev. James Hembree. John Hembree married Anna Heaton and acquired the 75 acres from Smith Heaton, who married into the Cherokee tribe and made tribal claims in Georgia and Tennessee. Rev. James Hembree was the executor of the estate of Anna Heaton’s father. The Heatons (Eatons) moved with the Hembrees from Virginia, through North Carolina, to Spartanburg District, SC then to Pendleton District, SC.

The William J. Vann Connection:

William J. Vann was b.1828 in SC and d. during the Civil War. He was the grandson of William Vann (d.bef 1795) and Martha (whose will was probated 25 Oct 1820 and published by Rev. James Hembree). These Vanns owned land on 26 Mile Creek close to lands of Charles Hughes, William Hembree and Edward Hembree (sons of Old John) and the family of Rev. James Hembree (1759-1849). William J. Vann m. Mahala (Hallie) Hembree (b.1824 d.1888) a daughter of John Hembree (b.1783). Although this Vann lineage is incomplete, it is no doubt part of the family of John Vann, the Indian trader.

William J. Vann moved to Cumming, Forsyth County, GA, where he appears in the 1860 census. He was not the William Vaugh(a)n associated with the Haw Creek Baptist Church. The Vaughan family of Forsyth County is an unrelated and well-documented family. The Haw Creek Baptist Church was founded by Richard Phillips in 1841. He was b.1791 in NC and resided for a time on 26 Mile Creek in Pendleton District, SC. He married Delilah Rainwater, a sister of Job Rainwater. Al-sie Wright was a charter member of this church. She was a widow (age 56) in 1832 when she drew land in Forsyth County and was still part of the church in 1856 at age 80. She thus was the correct age to be Josiah Wright’s widow.

The Kedar Heaton – Kedar Vann Connection:

Sgt. Kedar Heaton served with other North Carolinians in the Cherokee Expedition under Col. Richard Richardson in 1759-1760. Kedar (Cader) Vann served with Joseph Vann and Clement Vann in the Georgia Rangers patrolling the lands ceded by the Creeks in 1773-1774.


Far from complete, an examination of the Hembree – Vann connection helps us to figure out the Hembrees connection to the Cherokee and the Hembrees connection to each other. Much is missing, but persistence and sharing has greatly improved our understanding of these complex families. I look forward to your replies and, as always, I reserve the right to misquote my notes and garble the facts (a sign of advancing age). With your help we can get it right.


Corrections to Hembree – Vann Connections

1. There were Coody AND Gouedy / Goudey families in SC and these are not the same names. The wife of Ludovic Grant, though, was NOT a Coody but probably a Gouedy. Robert Gouedy’s Cherokee descendants seem to have adopted the Coody spelling. The estate of Arthur Coodey of 96 District was administered 24 Mar 1783 by Edward Vann, Drury Murphy, and widow Edith Coodey. Arthur was a Coody, not a Gouedy.

2. Bernard Hughes was reported to be killed in 1751 and his death was often noted but Gov. James Glen clarified the issue in 1752: only Daniel Murphy was killed, Bernard Hughes was plundered but not killed. By order of Chief Raven of the middle towns and Gov. Glen, Hughes retired from his post at Stetcoe (on the Tuskasegee River in NC) and went down to Ninety Six.

3. It was on 21 Dec 1773 (not 1775) that Joshua Pettit witnessed the illegal land cession of 150,000 acres from the Cherokee to Richard Pearis and Jacob Hite via Cherokee George Pearis. [George Pettett, Pettett & Pettit – This Family Business, (Dallas: 2001)] Joshua Pettit and Old John Hembree got a grant of land together in Spartanburg District in 1788. John Hembree and John Elder joined in a civil suit that year in Spartanburg as well. (A bastardy suit chased John Hembree out of Spartanburg.)

4. Although our William J. Vann moved to Cumming, Forsyth County, GA, he was NOT associated with the Haw Creek Baptist Church in that county. The William Vaughan, Willis Vaughan, and Delilah Vaughan shown there are a different and unrelated family. The Vaughan family of Forsyth County is well-documented.